Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi chairs the National Cost of Living Action Council meeting in Parliament. Bernama pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s various initiatives in reducing the public’s burden, especially on cost of living, has nothing to with the upcoming 14th General Election.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said all the measures, including the establishment of the National Cost of Living Action Council, is part of the government’s ongoing effort to address the problems faced by the people.

"We have adopted a pro-active approach and we listen to the many problems faced by the people," he said, adding that this includes matters concerning housing and food, among others.

Zahid was speaking after chairing the council’s meeting in Parliament here today. Also present was Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

Zahid also touched on the praise given by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V to the government for its efforts to address issues close to the people’s hearts via various initiatives.

“However, that praise must be translated into commitment by the government through immediate implementation (of initiatives), hence the council meeting today is a realisation of that commitment.

“The government will act swiftly through the six clusters, including the health cluster, which is the latest addition,” he said.

The other five clusters are food, housing, education, transport and utilities

Zahid said the He said that the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and relevant department as well as ministries would coordinate their actions.

"This is to ensure that the problems (related to cost of living) are not postponed (from being solved) or swept under the carpet," he said.

The establishment of the council was announced at the 2017 Umno General Assembly. The council is chaired by Zahid while Hamzah is the council's secretary.

The council would also comprise professionals and experts from the economy, transport and education as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), geared towards enabling holistic discussion and deliberation on the cost of living in the country.

Zahid, meanwhile, noted that among the steps already taken to help resolve issues of cost of living are the establishment of the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia 2.0.

"We have appointed luminaries from universities and other organisations to share their views in various aspects not just to tackle cost of living but also for the long-term planning by the government," he said.

He said despite no timeframe being set to implement the health cluster, Zahid gave his assurance that there would be an immediate meeting later to speed up implementation.

He said the result of the meeting would be reported to the cabinet for their perusal and input. --Reporting by Syed Umar Ariff; Nazura Ngah; Hidir Reduan; Fairul Asmaini Mohd Pilus; Veena Babulal; Luqman Arif Abdul Karim and Ahmad Suhael Adnan.

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